The Surah derives its name from the sentence wa amanu bi-ma nuzzila 'ala Muhammadd-in of verse 2, thereby implying that it is the Surah in which the holy name




НазваThe Surah derives its name from the sentence wa amanu bi-ma nuzzila 'ala Muhammadd-in of verse 2, thereby implying that it is the Surah in which the holy name
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Before the Holy Prophet's arrival at Madinah until his emigration the following were the main features of the Jews' position in Hejaz in general and in Yathrib in particular:


(1) In the matter of language, dress, civilisation and way of life they had completely adopted Arabism, even their names had-become Arabian. Of the 12 Jewish tribes that had settled in Hejaz, none except the Bani Za'ura' retained its Hebrew name. Except for a few scattered scholars none knew Hebrew. In fact, there is nothing in the poetry of the Jewish poets ':of the pre-Islamic days to distinguish it from the poetry of the Arab poets in language, ideas and themes. They even intermarried with the Arabs. In fact, nothing dis­tinguished them from the common Arabs except religion. Notwithstanding this, they had not lost their identity among the Arabs and had kept their Jewish prejudice alive most ardently and jealously. They had adopted superficial Arabism because they could not survive in Arabia without it.

(2) Because of this Arabism the western orientalists have been misled into thinking that perhaps' they were not really Israelites but Arabs who had embraced Judaism, or that at least majority of them consisted of the Arab Jews. But there is no historical proof to show that the Jews ever engaged in any proselytising activities in Hejaz, or their rabbis invited the Arabs to embrace Judaism like the Christian priests and missionaries. On the contrary, we see that they prided themselves upon their Israelite descent and racial prejudices. They called the Arabs the Gentiles, which did not mean illiterate or un-educated but savage and uncivilised people. They believed that the Gentiles did not possess any human rights; these were only reserved for the Israelites, and therefore, it was lawful and right for the Israelites to defraud them of their properties by every fair and foul means. Apart from the Arab chiefs, they did not con­sider the common Arabs fit enough to have equal status with them even if they entered Judaism. No historical proof is available, nor is there any evidence in the Arabian traditions, that some Arab tribe or prominent clan might have accepted Judaism. However, mention has been made of some individuals, who had become Jews. The Jews, however, were more interested in their trade and business than in the preaching of their religion. That is why Judaism did not spread as a religion and creed in Hejaz but remained only as a mark of pride and distinction of a few Israelite tribes. The Jewish rabbis, however, had a flourishing business in granting amulets and charms, fortune-telling and sorcery, because of which they were held in great awe by the Arabs for their "knowledge" and practical wisdom.

(3) Economically they were much stronger than the Arabs. Since they had emigrated from more civilised and culturally advanced countries of Palestine and Syria, they knew many such arts as were unknown to the Arabs; they also enjoyed trade relations with the outside world. Hence, they had captured the business of importing twain in Yathrib and the upper Hejaz and exporting dried dates to other countries. Poultry farm­ing and fishing also were mostly under their control, They were good at cloth-weaving too. They had also set up wine-shops here and there, where they sold wine which they imported from Syria. The Barn Qainuqa' generally practised crafts such as that of the goldsmith, blacksmith and vessel-maker. In all these occupations, trade and business these Jews earned exorbitant profits, but their chief occupation was trading in money-lending in which they had ensnared the Arabs of the Surround­ing areas. More particularly the chiefs and elders of the Arab tribes who were given to a life of pomp, brag­ging and boasting on the strength of borrowed money were deeply indebted to them. They lent money on high rates of interest and then would charge compound interest, which one could hardly clear off once one was involved in it. Thus, they had rendered the Arbas economically hollow, but it had naturally induced a deep rooted hatred among the common Arabs against the Jews.

(4) The demand of their trade and economic interests was that they should neither estrange one Arab tribe by befriending another, nor take part {n their mutual wars. But, on the other hand, it was also in their interests, that they should not allow the Arabs to be united and should keep them fighting and entrenched against each other, for they knew that whenever the Arab tribes united, they would not allow them to remain in possession of their large properties, gardens and fertile lands, which they had come to own through their profiteering and money-lending business. Furthermore, each of their tribes also had to enter into alliance with one or another powerful Arab tribe for the sake of its own protection so that no other powerful tribe should overawe it by its might. Because of this they had not only to take part in the mutual wars of the Arabs but they often had to go to war in support of the Arab tribe to which {heir tribe was tied in alliance against another Jewish tribe which was allied to the enemy tribe. In Yathrib the Bani Quraizah and the Bani an-Nadir were the allies of the Aus while the Bani Qainuqa' of the Khazraj. A little before the Holy Prophet's emigration, these Jewish tribes had confronted each other in support of their respective allies in the bloody war that took place between the Aus and the Khazraj at Bu'ath.


Such were the conditions when Islam came to Madinah, and ultimately an Islamic State came into existence after the Holy Prophet's (upon whom be Allah's peace) arrival there. One of the first things that he accomplished soon after establishing this state was unification of the Aus and the Khazraj and the Emigrants into a brotherhood, and the second was that he concluded a treaty between the Muslims and the Jews on definite conditions, in which it was pledged that neither party would encroach on the rights of the other, and both would unite in a joint defence against the external enemies. Some important clauses of this treaty are as follows, which clearly show what the Jew's and the Muslims had pledged to adhere to in their mutual rela­tionship:


"The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against any­one who attacks the people of this document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery. They shall sincerely wish one another well. Their relations will be govern­ed by piety and recognition of the rights of others, and not by sin and wrongdoing. The wronged must be helped. The Jews must pay with the believers so long as the war lasts. Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document .... If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise, it must be referred to God and to Muhammad the Apostle of God...Quraish and their helpers shall not be given protection. The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib .... Every one shall be responsible for the defence of the portion to which he belongs," (Ibn Hisham, vol. it, pp. 147 to 150).


This was on absolute and definitive covenant to the conditions of which the Jews themselves had agreed. But not very long after this they began to show hostility towards the Holy Prophet of Allah (upon whom be Allah's peace) and Islam and the Muslims, and their hostility and perverseness went on increasing day by day, Its main causes were three:


First, they envisaged the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) merely as a chief of his people, who should be content to have concluded a, political agree­ment with them and should only concern himself with the worldly interests of his group. But they found that he was extending an invitation to belief in Allah and the Apostleship and the Book (which also included belief in their own Prophets and scriptures), and was urging the people to give UP disobedience of Allah and adopt obedience to the Divine Commands and abide by the moral laws of their own prophets. This they could not put up with. They feared that if this universal ideological movement gained momentum it would des­troy their rigid religiosity and wipe out their racial nationhood.


Second, when they saw that the Aus and the Khazraj and the Emigrants were uniting into a brotherhood and the people from the Arab tribes of the surrounding areas, who entered Islam, were also joining this Islamic Brotherhood of Madinah and forming a religious com­munity, they feared that the selfish policy that they had been following of sowing discord between the Arab tribes for the promotion of their own well-being and interests for centuries, would not work in the new system, but they would face a united front of the Arabs against which their intrigues and machinations would not succeed.


Third, the work that the Holy Messenger of Allah (upon whom be Allah's peace) was carrying out of re­forming the society and civilisation included putting an end to all unlawful methods in business and mutual dealings. - More than that, he had declared taking and giving of interest also as impure. and unlawful earning, This caused them the fear that if his rule became established in Arabia, he would declare interest legally for­bidden, and in this they saw their own economic disaster and death.


For these reasons they made resistance and opposi­tion to the Holy Prophet their national ideal. They would never hesitate to employ any trick and machination, any device and cunning, to harm him. They spread every kind of falsehood so as to cause distrust against him in the people's minds. They created every kind of doubt, suspicion and misgiving in the hearts of the new converts so as to turn them back from Islam. They would make false profession of Islam and then would turn apostate so that it may engender more and more misunderstandings among the people against Islam and the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace). They would conspire with the hypocrites to create mischief and would co-operate with every group and tribe hostile to Islam. They would create rifts between the Muslims and would do whatever they could to stir them up to mutual feuds and fighting. The people of the Aus and the Khazraj tribes were their special target, with whom they had been allied for centuries. Making mention of the war of Bu'ath before them they would remind them of their previous enmities so that they might again resort to the sword against each other and shatter their bond of fraternity into which Islam had bound them. They would resort to every kind of deceit and fraud in order to harm the Muslims economically. Whenever one of those with whom that had business dealings, would accept Islam, they would do whatever they could to cause him financial loss, If he owed them something they would worry and harass him by making repeated demands, and if they owed him something, they would withhold the payment and would publicly say that at the time the bargain was made he professed a different religion, and since he had changed his religion, they were no longer under any obligation towards him. Several instances of this nature have be. en cited in the explanation of verse 75 of Surah Al-'Imran given in the commentaries by Tabari, Nisaburi, Tabrisi and in Ru,h al-Ma' ani.


They had adopted this hostile attitude against the covenant even before the Battle of Badr. But when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) and the Muslims won a decisive victory over the Quraish at Badr, they were filled with grief and anguish, malice and anger. They were in fact anticipating that in that war the powerful Quraish would deal a death blow to the Muslims. That is why even before the news of the Islamic victory reached Madinah they had begun to spread the rumour that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) had fallen a martyr and the Muslims had been routed, and the Quraish army under Abu Jahl was advancing on Madinah. But when the battle was decided against their hopes and wishes, they burst with anger and grief. Ka'b bin Ashraf, the chief of the Bani an-Nadir, cried out' "By God, if Muhammad has actually killed these nobles of Arabia, the earth's belly would be better for us than its back." Then he went to Makkah and incited the people to vengeance by writing and reciting provocative elegies for the Quraish chiefs killed at Badr. Then he returned to Madinah and com­posed lyrical verses of an insulting nature about the Muslim women. At last, enraged with his mischief, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) sent Muhammad bin Maslamah Ansari in Rabi' al-Awwal, A.H. 3, and had him slain. (Ibn Sa'd, Ibn Hisham, Tabari).


The first Jewish tribe which, after the Battle of Badr, openly and collectively broke their corel,ant were the Bani Qainuqa'. They lived in a locality inside the city of Madinah. As they practised the crafts of the goldsmith, blacksm,.'th and vessel maker, the people of Madinah had to visit their shops fairly frequently. They were proud of their bravery and valour. Being black­smiths by profession even their children were well-armed, and they could instantly muster 700 fighting men from among themselves. They were also arrogantly aware that they enjoyed relations of confederacy with the Khazraj and 'Abdullah bin Ubbay, the chief of the Khazraj, was their chief supporter. At the victory of Badr, they became-so provoked that they began to trouble and harass the Muslims and their women in particular, who visited their shops. By and by things came to such a pass that one day a Muslim woman was stripped naked publicly in their bazaar. This led to a brawl in which a Muslim and a Jew were killed. There­upon the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) himself visited their locality, got them together and counselled them on decent conduct. But the reply that they gave was: "O Muhammad , you perhaps think we are like the Quraish; they did not know fighting; there­fore, you overpowered them. But when you come in contact with us, you will see how men fight." This was in clear words a declaration of war. Consequently, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) laid siege to their quarters towards the end of Shawwal (and according to some others, of Dhi Qa'dah) A.H. 2. The siege had hardly lasted for a fortnight when they sur­rendered and all their fighting men were tied and taken prisoners. Now 'Abdullah bin Ubayy came up in support of them and insisted that they should be pardon­ed. The Holy Prophet conceded his request and decided that the Bani Qainuqa' would be exiled from Madinah leaving their properties, armour and tools of trade be­hind. (Ibn Sa'd, Ibn Hisham, Tarikh TabaN).


For some time after these punitive measures (i.e. the banishment of the Qainuqa' and killing of Ka'b bin Ashraf), the Jews remained so terror-stricken that they did not dare commit any further mischief. But later when in Shawwal, A.H. 3, the Quraish in order to avenge themselves for the defeat at Badr, marched against Madinah with great preparations, and the Jews saw that only a thousand men had marched out with the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) as against three thousand men of the Quraish, and even they were deserted by 300 hypocrites who returned to Madinah, they Committed the first and open breach of the treaty by refusing to join the Holy Prophet in the defence of the city although they were bound to it. Then, when in the Battle of Uhud the Muslims suffered reverses, they were further emboldened. So much so that the Bani an-Nadir made a secret plan to kill the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) though the plan failed before it could be executed. According to the details, after the incident of Bi'r Ma'unah (S. afar, A.H. 4) 'Amr bin Umayyah Damri slew by mistake two men of the Bani 'Amir in'retaliati6n, who actually belonged to a tribe which was allied to the Muslims, but 'Amr had mistaken them for the men of the enemy. Because of this mistake their blood-money became obli­gatory on the Muslims. Since the Bani an-Nadir were also a party in the alliance with the Bani 'Amir, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) went to their clan along with some of his Companions to ask for their help in paying the blood-money. Outwardly they agreed to contribute, as he wished, but secretly they plotted that a person should go up to the top of the house by whose wall the Holy Prophet was sitting and drop a rock on him to kill him. But before they could execute their Plan, Allah informed him in time and he immediately got up and returned to Madinah.
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